This week our cool thing is The West Virginia Hot Dog Blog, created by Stanton. This blog, which probably gets more mainstream press than any other blog in the state (and deserves it) presents reviews of West Virginia hot dogs from all around the state and beyond. Recently, Stanton even added a Podcast to his already impressive site.
You might think that the topic of West Virginia Hot Dogs would be limiting, but Stanton’s writing, as well as that of his cohorts Chris James and Kevin Smith is so passionate and clever that it draws you in. You actually want to find out how good the hot dogs are at some remote dairy bar in a county you never knew existed. They make you care about nitrates and goo, slapped on a bun.
One also has to admire the single-minded tenacity that Stanton and his gang applies to their quest. They stick to a narrow definition of what constitutes a “West Virginia Hot Dog.” It has to have chili sauce, cole slaw, mustard and chopped onions. This, they determine, is what turns a regular hot dog into a “West Virginia Hot Dog.” I can’t argue with this. All my life, when I’ve ordered a hot dog, and asked for it plain, or with just mustard, I get a strange look, and then the question, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Yes, I am a native West Virginian, but I’m used to feeling a bit out of place. You see, cole slaw is high on my list of things that I’d prefer not to have enter my body. And chili sauce is something that I think ruins a pefectly good hot dog. But I’m weird that way. What I like is not a “West Virginia Hot Dog.” Despite my personal tastes, a “West Virginia Hot Dog” has to have all the requisite ingredients to earn that moniker. It’s hard to find that exact combination outside our squiggly borders, and if you order a hot dog without that stuff on it at a West Virginia hot dog joint, you might as well be wearing a Hilary Clinton T Shirt and a Yankees ball cap.
It’s a kick reading this stuff. Even though I’ve yet to read a review of anyplace that made me want to run out and eat there, Stanton conveys such sheer joy that I devour his blog as readily as he devours his beloved West Virginia Hot Dogs.